Origin of Surname
This surname may well be derived from a nickname taken from the aquatic mammal, the seal, from the Olde English pre-7th Century "seolh", in Middle English "sele"; the nickname may have referred to the person's eyes, or perhaps to a plump or ungainly figure. One Roger Sele is recorded in the Norfolk Pipe Rolls of 1198.
Alternatively, it may have been given to a maker of seals, which in Old French was a scelle. A variant would be the Jersey surname Le Scelleur. From the early spellings of this name, Selle and Scelle, pronounced in Jersey Norman-French sale, the seal-maker derivation would perhaps seem the more likely.
In the 1274 Extente Robert and Richard Serle are mentioned and in the 1309 Assize Roll mention is made of Jourdain Selle. The 1331 Extente mentions Richard Selle. Jean Selle was an archer at the Castle in 1337.
The surname appears in the earliest St Brelade register, which dates from 1560. Over the ensuing two decades there were baptisms registered to five different couples, confirming that the family was long-established. The fathers may have been brothers or cousins. The name can be elusive as shown on www.ancestry.co.uk, but there are marriages from 1561 under the phonetic spelling Saele, baptisms from 1561 under Sceele and burials under this spelling from 1572, if not before. The surname also features in the earliest court records, which begin in the early 1500s.
Details concerning family members related to two Constables of St Brelade, allow a tree starting in the 15th century to be presented, with the usual caveats concerning very early records. The tree, however, appears to have been extracted using court records.
Notable among members of this St Brelade family, were Jean Scelle ( -1621) Constable of St Brelade, 1615-1621; Thomas Scelle, son of Germain, Constable of the same parish 1621-1629; Jean Scelle, whom Messervy believed was son of Jean, son of Germain, Constable 1644-1651 and Pierre Seale, Constable 1689-1690 and 1692-1693. The last was a Militia Captain and had married Marie de Carteret, daughter of Francois: The Revd. J.A. Messervy in ABSJ, VI, 250-252. Several of the family were successful merchants. These will include Peter Seale of Jersey, who was Mayor of Southampton in 1630, and Thomas Seale, son of Jean, son of Germain, who was a Jurat, 1644-1646. A branch of the family held for two generations the Fief of Samares in the 17th century. Thomas Seale was Rector of St Clement, 1729-1745, and John Alfred Seale, a Solicitor, was Constable of St Brelade 1878-1902.
An individual or short-lived branch of the family in St Lawrence, may have gaven rise to the place-name La Scelletterie, which caused the authors of Jersey Place Names, Volume 1, some uncertainty; however they may be correct in suggesting Le Scelleur as being the source.
La Maison du Coin, St Brelade, was the home of Jurat Thomas Seale, where he died in 1646: Joan Stevens, Old Jersey Houses, Volume I, (Chichester: Phillimore & CO., 1965), 172, 173.
So early as 1292, Robert Seelle, or Seale, of the Parish of St Brelade, is mentioned in a legal instrument, as a landowner and a gen de bien," and from that time (and probably from a much earlier one) to the present, some members of this family have been located in the same parish.
In the Extente of 1331, Peter Seale [see Erratum] is mentioned as the Seigneur of the fief au Prieur, for which he owed to the Crown 18 deniers. Richard Seale, on the authority of the same document, owed eight sols for a bouvée of land in the Parish of St Brelade.
At the period of the Rebellion this family remained staunchly loyal. John Seale, Constable of St Brelade, was one of the subscribers to the Proclamation recognizing Charles II as King, on the reception of the news of his father's execution. A female member of the house shared the dangers and privations of the siege of Elizabeth Castle, prior to its surrender by Sir George de Carteret.
During the tenure of office of Lord Cobham, the Governor, the Rev Thomas Seale, then Rector of St Clement, strenuously and successfully opposed the unconstitutional desire of his lordship to appoint, as Dean of Jersey, a native of France, who then held a benefice in the island. Upon his return from London, whither he had gone the better to represent the hardship, he was publicly thanked, and his expenses defrayed, by the States, for having so ably defended the insular privileges.
The Seigueurie of Samares was presented by the heiress of the Dumaresqs to John Seale, in whose family it remained for two generations, when it was transferred, by purchase, to the Hammond family.
Erratum: The researchers compiling the above article, published in An Armorial of Jersey, have mistaken the former Jersey surname Helles or Heles for that of Seale.
- Scelle, this name, and variants may be associated with Seale, but the link is uncertain
- Seale baptisms in Jersey
- Seale marriages in Jersey (groom)
- Seale marriages in Jersey (bride)
- Seale burials in Jersey
Notable family members
Thomas Seale was Constable of St Brelade in the early-16th century and he was followed by his cousin Thomas Seale. John Alfred Seale was another Constable of the parish, much later, from 1878 to 1903.
These wills created by members of the Seale family are now held by Jersey Archive. By visiting the archive site and using the names, dates and reference numbers shown here, it is possible to view a copy of each will. You will have to subscribe to the Archive's online service to do this. To find out more about this collection, which covers the period from 1663 to 1980, and how to search for your family's wills there, visit our Jersey wills page
- Alice Seale, wife of Jolui William Henry - 6 September 1929, D/Y/A/89
- Danial Seale of St Brelade, bequeaths to the poor of St Brelade 5s - 9 August 1867, D/Y/A/33
- Elizabeth Seale, spinster, daughter of Peter, desires to be buried in St Brelade's Cemetery, bequeaths to the poor of St Brelade and St Helier, £5 sterling for each parish, to the General Hospital, £20 sterling makes bequests of stock and funds in the Bank of England 26 April 1788 - D/Y/A/14
- George Seale, 4 Minden Street, St Helier - 1 September 1928, D/Y/A/88
- Lydia Seale, Oak Lane, La Moye, St Brelade - 9 January 1936, D/Y/A/98
- Marie Seale of St Brelade, bequeaths to the poor of St Brelade 5s Includes papers relating to the appointment of John Alfred Seale as executor - 7 April 1875, D/Y/A/38
- Thomas Seale, Oak Lane, La Moye, St Brelade - 6 January 1934, D/Y/A/95
Related place names
- Seale Street, St Helier
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